The animal shelter was loud! Dogs were barking from every section of the building as we were led to the room where a few small dogs remained available for adoption. By the time the shelter had opened for visits most of the small dogs listed on their site had been adopted out already and I had a feeling a let-down was coming for our daughter who was expecting to finally have a dog in the house. The attendant brought us into a little room that had 4 cages on the floor. Two were empty, one had a small dog that had proven a bit aggressive and was not recommended, and the other had a black miniature schnauzer barking furiously from behind the cage door.
He had been at the shelter for a week by then and I imagined his bravado was a plea to not be forgotten. Once out of the cage and on a leash it became obvious that this little guy was very depressed. He moped slowly along behind us, his head and tail drooping, and when we went outside he showed no interest in his surroundings. We took him into a fenced-in enclosure so we could play with him but he kept heading back to the gate where he would stand facing the door waiting to be let back out. We walked him some more but he still wouldn't perk up and I'm sure he was wondering what had become of his people and why he had been left alone in this strange place. He had lived with his former family for seven years. He had probably been excited at the prospect of a ride only to be left behind at the shelter never to see his family again.
Back indoors the little dog stood in the lobby and just stared at us while we talked with the shelter worker who had picked him out for us, and after a few minutes of discussion, we decided to take this sad schnauzer home. The dog stretched out and flattened himself to the office floor while we worked through the papers and after awhile we were driving away with “Maxie” riding along in the back seat.
Nearly four years later Maxie is still here, a little older and slower, but life for him has been good. He's traveled to all of the New England states and has even visited Canada, and he gets to spend a week at the beach every summer. He's also won ribbons in the town dog show, but his favorite things to do are sleep on the bed, patrol his back yard, ride in the car and walk in the park. His least favorite things are trips to the vet and thunderstorms. It's like there was never a time when he wasn't here. For some there really is a “happily ever after”.